ROYKO: A Life in Print
On the heels of Doug Moe's slim, anecdotal The World of Mike Royko (1999), veteran Chicago newsman Ciccone has written the first fully comprehensive biography of corrosive Chicago columnist Royko (1932–1997), labeled "the best journalist of his time" by Jimmy Breslin. A street-smart watchdog who could sniff out political hypocrisy and injustices on all levels, Royko found fame as he wrote for the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune with wry wit and caustic satire: "That's the way I felt about pols. They were comedic material." The 8,000 installments of his highly popular column were syndicated in more than 600 newspapers over four decades, and his acclaimed biography of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, Boss (1971), was a national bestseller. To trace Royko's Chicago beat and demonstrate how he became both "the voice of the little man" and "the voice of the Lake Forest privileged," Ciccone, who also worked for the Tribune and wrote a book on Daley (Daley: Power and Presidential Politics), traces Royko's Chicago childhood, his transition from reporter to columnist, his coverage of the civil rights movement, the 1968 Chicago riots, controversial columns (many excerpts are included) and the writing of Boss: "Royko declared war on the subject and mapped his battle plans." Here are Royko's feuds, friends and favorite saloons. Against the backdrop of Chicago's blizzards and political brawls, Ciccone has captured Royko's venom and compassion. (June 12)
Forecast:Shelves will be well stocked in Chicago and elsewhere, since legions of Royko readers have waited for this one. They will not be disappointed, and they will spread the word.